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Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. As soon as January comes around I start looking forward to that special day in the middle of February, as not only do I get to enjoy it, but it adds a bit of brightness to the gloomy winter for people everywhere! I’m also a firm believer that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be miserable for those who aren’t in a relationship, as it gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself, or spend time with family or friends.
So, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, over the next week or so I’ll be bringing you my pick of the best, affordable Valentine’s gifts – perfect for your loved one or even for yourself! Today’s pick is this adorable little set of Love Hearts Tea Lights, available from It’s A Wot.
Since I moved out of my mum’s house and in with my fiancé, I’ve become more and more interested in interior design, and making my home look pretty, and these tea lights help me do just that. They come beautifully wrapped in a Love Hearts wrapper, so they look like a super-sized tube of sweets, and inside you get six tea lights, each of which comes in a sturdy plastic holder.
The tea lights come in three colours – pink, purple and blue – with two of each in the pack, and they all have an iconic Love Hearts message printed on top. The pink ones say “Kiss Me”, the purple ones say “Love Me”, and the blue ones say “Hug Me”.
Despite their small size, the tea lights burn really well. I had them on for several hours the other evening and the flame hardly made a dent in the wax, and they don’t produce much smoke, just a steady flame. My only issue with the candles is that they aren’t scented, but it’s not a deal breaker and I still think they’re lovely.
At just £1.84 for a set of six, these tea lights would make an ideal Valentine ’s Day ‘stocking filler’ for someone who loves cute and quirky little house gifts. They’d also be great for adding a touch of romance to your Valentine’s evening, or even just to help you unwind and relax after a busy day. Want some? Get them here.
*These Love Hearts Tea Lights were sent to me by It’s A Wot for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
As my regular readers will know, a few months ago my fiancé and I moved in together. Since then I’ve slowly been trying to make the house look more like a home, and though it isn’t yet complete (working full-time means very little time to nest!), we’re almost there. As such, I thought it was about time I showed you some of our decor, starting with the living room.
When we moved in the house had been freshly decorated with light brown and white paintwork, and a beige carpet throughout. Neutral tones aren’t usually my thing, but they were easy to work with when it came to adding colour. The living room has been brightened with purple throws, cushions and curtains, and an ambient orange lamp, but it’s the little extras that make it even more homely.
I’ve always liked small mammals and woodland creatures, and the current trend for such wildlife has meant I’ve managed to pick up some lovely pieces. Here are a few of my favourites…
I don’t usually like having an abundance of cushions everywhere, but that all changed when I found these awesome animal photo cushions in Asda, for £7 each. There were several different animals to choose from, but I went for the squirrel, as they’re one of my favourite animals, and the Highland cow, as it reminds me of a lovely time spent in the Scottish countryside a few years ago. These take pride of place on my sofa, and as you can see Miggley approves!
Time for Tea
One thing I struggled to find was a nice set of coasters, and then when I was about to give up, I came across these gorgeous Sass & Belle Wooden Owl Coasters from Flamingo Gifts. There are six coasters in the set (much better than the typical four you usually get!), and they come in a handy stand to prevent clutter when not being used. The quality and design of the coasters is fantastic, and they look great on my coffee table.
The Abode Mouse & Field Mug is also from Flamingo Gifts, and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it as the little grey mouse reminds me of my Russian Blue rat, Heather. I prefer a mug to a cup (it holds more tea!), and this is the perfect size for my morning brew. The simple but eye-catching geometric design is by artist Luzelle van der Westhuizen, and is a good fit for my natural theme. It would also make a nice present as it comes in a gift box, and costs an affordable £8.50.
By the Fire
My fireplace features a lot of owls, with the main attraction being this owl clock. My mum gifted this to me when we first moved in, and I love how it matches the wooden coasters above.
Another of my favourite owls is this lovely felted piece that I bought from a street market in Edinburgh in the summer, during the Fringe. It took me a while to find the right place for it, but it now has a home at the side of the fireplace.
I have two of each of these hares and mice. I have a thing for hares, and I bought these in Glastonbury about ten years ago whilst on a camping trip. They’re special to me, and it’s nice to finally have them on show in my own home! The mice are actually a salt and pepper set, but I have them on display as ornaments as they remind me of my heart rat Mog (RIP). Aren’t they cute?
The Rat & The Hare
These rat and hare sculptures were Christmas gifts from my dad, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They’re by Norfolk-based artist Tracy Whinray, and are wonderfully textured with such expressive little faces. I think they look great in front of the wooden pentagram, handmade by my step-dad.
What do you think of my woodland theme?
*The Wooden Owl Coaster Set and Abode Mouse & Field Mug were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
A couple of weeks ago I noticed on Twitter that canvas printing company CanvasDesign were looking for bloggers to review one of their canvases. I immediately got in touch as I’m hoping to move in with my fiancé soon, and am currently looking for nice things to hang on our walls, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! CanvasDesign were happy to send me a canvas, and I knew exactly what I wanted it to have on it… My favourite photo of my fiancé and I taken at our recent Masters graduation.
CanvasDesign asked me to send them a high quality image (around 500KB), so I did, and within 48 hours the canvas was on my doorstep. I have to admit, I was VERY surprised when I received the canvas as the packaging was HUGE, which I wasn’t expecting, and I was lucky enough to be sent a massive 30″ x 20″ canvas. And it is beautiful.
The quality of the canvas is very high as it is made from 100% cotton, and it comes on a solid, sturdy pine frame. The back is also nicely finished, and looks incredibly neat and professional, and the image hasn’t suffered at all from being enlarged. Rather, it looks clear and vibrant.
A portrait canvas of this size usually costs just £29.99, which is ridiculously cheap, especially considering the cost of graduation photography prints! It was well over £50 for a standard pack at my graduation, which I couldn’t afford, so I’m so pleased that I now have this memento of the day. So, if you have a relatively good camera, and a friend or relative who’s good at photography (my dad took this picture), using CanvasDesign would be a great way to save money on photos of special events. Imagine how lovely a wedding, anniversary or new baby photo would look on a canvas like this!
Overall, I am so, so happy with my canvas. I can’t get over how big it is, the quality is amazing, the service was spot on, and I even got a free hanging kit with my order. I love my canvas, and it’s going to take pride of place in my new home, but for now it’s hanging in my bedroom and it looks fab.
To check out CanvasDesign’s full range of canvas sizes and services, click here. You can also get 15% off all orders using the code ‘BLOG15’!
* This personalised canvas was sent to me by CanvasDesign for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
It’s been a while since I last posted anything lifestyle related, so I thought I’d do something a little bit different today and talk about food storage! Not the most interesting topic I know, but I’ve been getting very bored lately with taking the same old things to work every day for lunch, and I think a new lunch box could be the answer. I was recently browsing the Kleeneze website and noticed that they had some fun looking containers for sale, and they’ve inspired me to scrap the sandwiches and start taking healthier, more exciting food to work with me.
The Snacks To Go tub and the Keep Cool Food Store are what really got me thinking. Both would be perfect for taking salads for lunch, as they both come with a little pot for salad dressing, and the Snacks To Go even has a fork which slots in the side! The Keep Cool Food Store also has a freezable lid so your food can stay fresh. As a vegetarian I have had a lot of practice making salads more appetising, and the idea of having feta and olive, or roast vegetable salads for lunch instead of a boring cheese roll is really rather nice.
The Food Storage Sets may look like normal plastic containers, but the different sized boxes are what I find appealing. I love the idea of having a box within a box filled with fun little treats, almost like Japanese Bento boxes. The small ones are perfect for dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or even dips, the medium ones for veggies and crackers, cookies and cakes, and the bigger ones for pasta salads and suchlike. Yum!
You can check out Kleeneze’s full range of food storage here.
*This post is a collaboration.*
I’ve been reading about jewellery candles on US blogs for a while now, and had been hoping that something similar would come to the UK, so when I saw reviews popping up all over the internet of the UK equivalent JewelCandle, I signed up via their website to review a candle myself. JewelCandle sell handmade scented candles, each containing a surprise piece of jewellery worth between £10 and £250. You can choose to receive either earrings or a ring, but you don’t know what your jewellery will look like until you burn your candle and remove your surprise. A nice idea on paper, but is it well executed?
As I don’t have my ears pierced, I specifically requested a candle containing a ring. The earring candles cost £16.95 each, but the ring candles are quite a bit bigger, so cost a few pounds more at £24.95. There are many different scents to choose from, including Sweet Cupcake, Cookies & Cream, Pina Colada, Candy Floss and Passion Fruit, but I went for Cinnamon Bun as I love the smell of cinnamon and it’s suitably festive!
In terms of appearance, the candle looks great. The glass jar is very high quality and has a secure lid, and is finished off with a lovely white bow. The font and the graphics are simple, but also look quite appealing. The ring, wrapped in foil, is also visible through the side of the jar, which is a little bit of a tease as you have to wait for the candle to burn down before you can get it out!
The scent of the candle is nice and sweet, and definitely smells like cinnamon baking. Scented candles often smell nothing like what they’re meant to, so it’s always a bonus when they do! The scent isn’t overpowering and headache-inducing, but it fills the room with a pleasant smell within minutes of being lit.
I’d read on other blogs that it takes about 3 hours for the candle to burn down enough for the ring to be retrieved, but it took mine a LOT longer, and after checking the JewelCandle site they do say it can take 10-15 hours. The day I received it I burned it for around 4 hours, but it wasn’t even close to the ring. The next day it took another 6 or 7 hours before I could get it out, and even then I had to dig it out with a knife as I got impatient! On the plus side, at least you know you get a good burn time out of these candles. After 10 hours in total it was still only a quarter of the way down, and it’s still going strong.
After waiting so long for the candle to burn, I couldn’t wait to see my surprise piece of jewellery. The ring itself came wrapped in foil, and also in a small sealed bag, so it was well protected from the wax, and after waiting a few minutes for the foil to cool down I opened the tiny package. Here is what I found inside…
The ring itself is really pretty, and in the right light could look quite expensive, but the stone in the middle feels like plastic, and the silver isn’t very thick. However, it is labelled and stamped as 925 Sterling Silver, so at least it won’t turn your skin green! I have no idea how much the ring is worth as it isn’t printed on the label like it’s supposed to be, but I’m guessing it’s one of the £10 rings. Unfortunately, it’s also far too big for me. My fingers range from a K to an M in size, and the ring is extremely loose on all of them, including my thumb, so I’m unable to wear it myself. So, if JewelCandle were going to improve anything, I’d suggest it be the sizing! I’d definitely like to see the option to choose the size of ring inside, otherwise it becomes quite a redundant idea if you can’t even wear the jewellery. It might also be nice to see some necklaces, or even just pendants in the candles. At least then one size fits all!
Despite the oversized ring, my overall verdict is still fairly positive. The candle looks great, is an impressive size, smells gorgeous and burns for a long time. Though big, the ring is quite nice, despite not being of high value. But with a bit of improvement, JewelCandle could be even better, and I hope to see them expand in the future!
*This Cinnamon Bun JewelCandle was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
About three years ago I made a couple of changes to my lifestyle (namely eating healthier and exercising more), and consequently lost three stone in weight over the healthy time span of about two years. Since then, though I don’t weigh myself obsessively, I do like to check my weight every now and then, mainly because I want to maintain my weight and make sure I’m not losing any more! So, when I was offered a set of Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales to review I happily accepted, especially as my previous set had recently broken!
To look at, the Ozeri scales aren’t anything special, but the design is nice and modern, and the tempered glass top is a lot better quality than the typical white plastic sets of scales you often see. They are also slim and, though weighty, aren’t too heavy, so they’re also easy to store. The scales run on four AAA batteries, which is handy as they’re easy to get hold of, unlike my last set which used one of those flat silver batteries that aren’t always easy to find.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a set of scales is their accuracy, and these are incredibly accurate. I even tested them alongside my mum’s bathroom scales! I weighed myself three times on each to compare the readings, and on my mum’s I was given three slightly different readings, whereas on these I got the same reading every time. I think this is down to the four high precision GX sensors that the scales boast, as they can weigh up to 440lbs/200kg, in 0.2lb/0.1kg increments, so they’re extremely precise.
You can also change the units that the scales measure in, from pounds to kilograms to stone, using a small switch on the back. I personally weigh myself in stone, but it’s always handy to have the other two options there, especially if you want to weigh your suitcase before going on holiday to check you’ve not gone over your baggage allowance!
The screen on the front of the scales is a nice size, has a blue back light, and the digits are large so they’re easy to read. A bonus for anyone who doesn’t have the best eyesight. It also switches itself off automatically to help conserve battery life.
Overall, the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales are a quality set of scales and they do everything you’d want them to do. They’re robust, accurate, low maintenance, and easy to read, and are well worth the £18.95 they cost. If you’d like a set for yourself, they’re available on Amazon.
*These Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Every week I end up carrying a lot of heavy things, almost every day… My work bag full of folders, my university bag full of books, my laptop bag, bags full of Avon brochures and products, and sometimes shopping bags. As you can imagine, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this, I get quite a lot of pain in my back and shoulders, and my muscles tend to get really tight and knotted. I try my best to balance the weight by using a backpack and suchlike, but it doesn’t always help. Though I’d love a professional sports massage at the end of each week to sort out my back and shoulder problems, that isn’t viable as I just can’t afford it! So, I have been on a mission to find at-home massage products which are easy to use and actually work, and organic and natural beauty boutique, Lucy Rose, kindly offered to send me an Omni Massage Gift Set to try out.
The Omni Massage Gift Set that I received retails for £18.99 on the Lucy Rose website, and contains an original Omni Massage Roller, and a 100ml bottle of Omni Sports Massage Oil. These come packaged in a plastic zip case, which is very handy for safe, clean storage. However, the rollers come in five different colours (grey, green, blue, purple and red) and can be purchased separately for £11.99 each, as can the four blends of massage oil (Original, Sports, Uplifting and Muscle), which cost £9.99 each. This means you can mix and match colours and scents to suit you, but there are also two other Gift Sets available (featuring the Original and Muscle oils, and corresponding colour massage rollers).
I chose the Sports Gift Set for two reasons – 1. I wanted an intense massage which would really do my muscles good, which I figured the Sports massage oil would help with, and 2. I love purple, and the visual appeal of a curvy, purple massage ball was too difficult to ignore. So, here’s what I think of Omni’s massage set…
Omni Massage Rollers are safe to use at home on your own, or with the help of another person. The ball inside the roller rolls in all (“omni”) directions, which makes for an excellent massage as it enables the movement and pressure needed to relax and relieve painful tensions in the muscles. It is apparently also used by professionals in the NHS (as well as in private practice), so it is a trusted therapeutic device.
The first time I used the roller I asked my mum to help me reach the tense areas on my back, and even though she used it over my clothing I was amazed that the roller was sensitive enough to pick out all the knots in my muscles. We could both feel them ‘crunching’, which sounds horrible but it meant she knew which areas to focus on. The shape and movement of the ball means that any focused pressure is distributed outwards slightly, so the knots can be worked out without any pain or discomfort. In fact, it is so painless it almost tickles!
The roller can also be used to ease any tension or stress in smaller areas, such as the fingers, hands or elbows. My job as an Academic Support Worker involves taking a LOT of notes for students who aren’t able to take their own notes, so I tend to get some aching and cramping in my hands and arms. I have been using the roller to gently massage these areas, and it really does help to relax my hands after a long day of hard work. I have also noticed that, due to the shape of the roller and the rubber band around the edge, it is very easy to grip and control.
I haven’t yet tried any hot or cold therapies with the Omni Massage Roller, but according to Lucy Rose’s description of the product, it can be placed in the fridge or in hot water to alter the temperature of the ball, and it can also be used in water without getting damaged. Sounds incredibly relaxing to me!
Omni Sports Massage Oil is very strongly scented of Juniper Berry, Black Pepper and Rosemary, and it really does smell beautiful. When I first opened the bottle I couldn’t put it down and kept smelling the oil! It is well-known that Black Pepper is regularly used in sports massage as it helps to tone muscles, and you can tell this oil has been carefully blended to “aid relaxation” and “promote fast recovery after exercise”.
The oil itself has a pale yellow tinge to it, and it is quite runny. It can be massaged directly into the skin by hand, or you can add a few drops to the roller (there’s a hole in the bottle of the roller to pour it in), and it comes out in a controlled manner as the ball rolls.
When on the skin, the oil helps the Massage Roller move more smoothly over the surface of the skin, and it warms up slightly too which is deeply relaxing. I was slightly worried that the oil would be overly greasy and make a mess of my clothes/bed sheets, but it is actually easily absorbed and intensely moisturising, so it can slot in to your skin care routine nicely without any trouble!
I have been using the Omni Gift Set every other day for a week now, and I have already noticed a big improvement in my muscles. They definitely feel less tense, and whenever it is used on my back I can tell the knots are disappearing. I can now write for a lot longer without getting cramps too, which is a brilliant benefit for my job. Overall, Omni Massage Roller and Sports Massage Oil are the perfect combination for a relaxing, pain-free at-home massage which actually works. I am hugely impressed, and am so, so pleased that I have discovered a genuine alternative to expensive professional massages.
The Omni Massage Roller & Sports Oil Gift Set is available here from Lucy Rose, for just £18.99 – a lot less than what you’d pay for a professional massage, and you can re-use it too! It’d also make a great, affordable Christmas gift for people of all ages, I reckon. Lucy Rose offer free UK postage and free samples with every order, and you can even save loyalty points if you buy from their online boutique regularly, so you can enjoy those perks too if you buy from them!
Do you like the sound of the Omni Massage Roller and Oil?
*The Omni Massage Roller and Sports Oil Gift Set was sent to me by Lucy Rose for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own*.